Preparing the next generation

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 30, 2007

To the Editor:

School principals born during the “baby boom generation” have reached the job retirement age.

Some principals have actually retired while others have opted to remain active as school leaders.

Email newsletter signup

Today’s baby boom school administrators often find themselves guiding students and supervising some teachers from the “hip hop generation.”

Because of the generation gap, oftentimes older principals discover that they do not share similar morals/ethical values as the individuals they are leading.

In preparing the next generation of school leaders, “Do we archive or trade the ethics/principles of today’s school leaders for a new set of values and beliefs?”

The education of youth in our modern changing society requires a versatile person.

The principalship is a profession for those interested in organizing and administering all aspects of education that produce the attitudes, values, knowledge, and skills for the generations of the future.

There is an image of what any principal should be like.

Research studies point out that the following personal characteristics are generally desirable qualifications for a principal:


Good Health



Consideration for others

Morally Strong

Professionally Minded

These personal traits should not be compromised in choosing the next generation of school administrators.

Society constantly undergoes changes.

Therefore, the principal has to adhere to reform. Future school leaders must be cognizant of the principal being a co-instructional leader and a manager. Managers focus on “running a smooth ship”; co-instructional leaders focus on learning and instruction. Leadership is shared between the principal and faculty.

Principals cannot be effective co-instructional leaders if they are not good managers.

These are viewed as supporting roles; not as isolated parts.

The future principal will discover the importance of collaboration with individuals in the business world.

The executive coaching program builds relationships between the business sector and public schools by pairing principals with business executives who serve as mentors. In other words, business leaders coach school principals.

In business and education, leaders know that today’s quality of education will affect tomorrow’s quality of workforce. Business professionals can offer advice on goal setting, strategic planning, and the use of resources to help principals manage schools more effectively.

Moreover, this partnership provides an open window for business professionals to become aware of what is going on in schools.

The next generation of principals will probably face more challenges than contemporary school leaders.

Nevertheless, improving and supervising the instructional program should be a major concern for any generation of principals.

Also, it is good for a principal to be the type of supervisor that he/she would like to have.

Gerald Shirley


School of Discovery